Sunday, November 8, 2015

Edison Middle School feeder pattern & the Pk-8 transition opportunity

The painful data in the chart below is only a hint of the ongoing history of educational neglect in West Dallas.  Notice that the Facility Condition Index for even the "best" West Dallas school is in worse condition than the 18.24% average for DISD elementary schools. The higher the score the worse the condition of the school. All West Dallas schools are worse than average in DISD, often a lot worse!   Why else are charter schools targeting West Dallas?

West Dallas parents are seeing it and telling us something by how they move their children out of DISD before their child enters the 6th grade in a DISD middle school!

History of Neglect - Pinkston Feeder Pattern Dallas ISD

Dallas ISD is losing over 12% of all 5th graders who never enroll in a 6th grade class inside DISD.  This is due to the very negative reputations of DISD middle schools throughout the district. The 400% increase in discipline problems once a child enters a DISD middle school is well documented, and well known in the community.

DISD must begin listening better to parents, and watching where they are moving their children.  One out of every 8 parents removes their child from DISD after the 5th grade, often taking siblings with them.  Is this one of many signals showing that DISD should move much more rapidly to transition current Pk-5 schools into being Pk-8 schools?   Rosemont has shown that Pk-8 works well.

Research has been documenting the value of Pk-8 schools for over a decade!  See

Over 10% of DISD parents have been removing their child from DISD after the 5th grade since 2006!

******** A Solution ********

Last year the highest rated, most successful, non-magnet middle school in all of DISD was Rosemont, a Pk-5 school that in 3 years was transformed into a Pk-8 school by 2013. Now with their second 8th grade class in 2014/15, they had the highest rating of all the 33 non-magnet DISD middle schools last year!

Rosemont only mirrored the national research on Pk-8 schools that predicts such progress.

Dallas has $64 million authorized in the bond program just passed for one new Pk-8 school in West Dallas. That would leave half of West Dallas still going to Edison for which there is $14 million authorized for renovation. But Dallas is moving a cement processing plant across the railroad track from Edison! Now is the time to change all West Dallas Pk-5 schools into Pk-8 schools and work toward the Rosemont achievement! West Dallas does not need one new Pk-8 school but 7! With solid planning, within 3 years Edison could be closed!  The charter schools would no longer be as attractive!

With multiple open community meetings throughout West Dallas the information surrounding Rosemont’s success and the national research on the success of k-8 schools could be shared. Parents from Rosemont give powerful witness to their success in both Spanish and English. West Dallas parents would quickly want this change for their children. The 6 ft 8th grader and kindergarten child dangers are very well managed with the normal age separations in any Pk-8 school.

None of the 7 current West Dallas elementary schools are 100% full. They each have enough room that this year’s 5th grade could stay for 6th grade. Needed building and modifications could begin immediately to prepare for 7th and 8th grades in all schools using the $88+ million that is available. The new Pk-8 school is not needed and that $64 million plus the $14 million to renovate Edison makes the $88 million available.

At the new central West Dallas Pinkston complex a middle school sports/band/electives center could be built to serve all middle school students with such interests. With good planning and the bond moneys now available West Dallas could develop the education system that would facilitate the gentrification that is coming.

DISD is failing terribly if graduates do not have the potential to become the “gentry” in our evolving West Dallas. To see that happen as our graduates constantly upgrade their family homes should be a goal for city planners, and for all of us in DISD!